Last Thursday brought very unwelcome news, a friend of mine from high school had passed far too young.
Initially I went through the marked disbelief that this was a random occurrence of dream, that odd synapse that seems to fire on account of those that you have known periodically. This expectedly transitioned into the all becoming acceptance that seems the most prominent stage of grief, ever present even when its cause is someone you have not talked to in almost 10 years.
Part of the shock from the past 5 days exists in the loss of a good person, while part of exists in the forced realization that I have dropped the ball to keep in touch with many of those from my past on account of business, location, life. Current life, being that it contrasts against years ago, is dominated by faux contact where “liking” a status counts as keeping touch. Then when reality rings so profound I find myself willing to give up every time I pressed that damn button for one phone call, one chance run-in at the local market, one more reality undefined by binary.
In Matt I have a distant past of good times, and a currently reality of loss, so allow me to take a second to reflect…
With the summers of my teenage years came one of the greatest aspects of my youth, church volleyball (mind you, I have very little talent in any socially embraced sport, both then and now). Matt and his friend Chaz originally joined our team, maybe with intention of being ringers, or maybe because of the default cause that was and is the reality of every man….. we had girls. Where this gets complicated is that we wanted to impress said girls, but our volleyball playing ability…. well… lacked. So we did what most guys that can’t jump or serve did, improvised. We made the times less about the match, and more about the people.
One of our greatest masterpieces took place on a surprising cool summer’s day when we were to play a neighboring church. Bound not by the will to win, but by the determination to have fun, we chose to forgo practice that day. Instead of drills, we felt that carrying the couches and chairs from the church to the volleyball court was a better use of energy. We went around the corner to my grandparent’s house and raided the fridge for soda and ice cream (which didn’t last as we hadn’t procured a cooler to transport). The way I know the impact of this day on my history is that I don’t know if we won or lost, but I am positive that no one cared.
Life continued, we went our own ways only to meet Saturday at his wake. It felt like a sad high school reunion where you enjoyed the company of others knowing that every laugh was forced, only hiding the insecurity of the moment. Only stories existed now to tell me who Matt grew up to be. In a scientific mind (hiding an emotional heart) I broke it down to this. The trees don’t dance, they merely move to the wind, showing its influence and proving its existence. Existing in the metaphoric forest that was the wake I could see how Matt had lived his life by the way his friends were moved. Surmising then what I had known all along, Matt was a good man.